Chinese Digital Microscope Buyers Guide

We’ve all been there, you’re trying to solder some ridiculously small SMD part and just can not see what you’re soldering. Well fortunately for the hobbyist on a budget there are a good number of affordable digital microscopes available from China. They can be had at anywhere from $15-300 dollars depending on features and quality meaning there is something for every level.

On top of being reasonably priced they also have varied set of features like integrated LCD screens, video recording, and adjustable lighting. These microscopes are highly useful tools and make a nice addition to the workbench.

Quick Overview

ModelAndonstar ADSM302Mustool G600Andonstar ADS106SMustool G1200DANIU USB
andonstar adsm302mustool g600andonstar ads106smustool g1200 microscopedaniu usb microscope
Camera Quality12MP3MP12MP12MP2MP
Video Quality1080P microSD720p microSD1080P microSD1080P microSD640x480 USB
Screen Size5 Inch4.3 inch4.3 inch7 inchNone
Focus range5cm to 22cm2cm to 10.5cm1cm - 13cm
OutputsUSB, HDMI, microSD, avoutUSB, microSDUSB, microSDmicroSDUSB
Magnificationmax 560x1-600x10-220x1-1200x50-500x
More Info More Info More Info More Info More Info
Specs listed are as advertised by manufacturer, we can not 100% guarantee their accuracy.

Are they worth the price

If you have specific applications in mind, yes they are well worth the price. Otherwise like any other tool if you don’t have a use for it then don’t get one. For the person looking to start or add onto their electronics lab depending on the microscope these can actually be one of the lower cost tools to own.

Can a Chinese microscope be used for soldering?

Yes! These microscopes are good for soldering and working with small surface mount components, even those with a very fine pitch. With a little bit of practice and a fine solder tip hand soldering small components is achievable and hot air reworking is even easier.

#1 Andonstar ADSM302

andonstar adsm302
The Andonstar ADSM302 is one of if not the best Chinese digital microscope available. It features a 12MP image sensor, 1080p HD video, adjustable lighting, remote control, heavy metal stand, and up to a 22cm work area height. In addition it features a removable piece of glass to keep solder fumes off the lens. Hand soldering and hot air rework is no problem with this microscope.

#2 Mustool G600

mustool g600
The Mustool G600 is a lower cost entry level microscope with 1-600X magnification, 720p video recording, a 4.3 inch LCD, battery power, and LED lights. A great microscope for SMD soldering and circuit inspection. It comes in 2 versions, one with a sturdy metal stand, and a cheaper version with a more unreliable plastic stand.

#3 Andonstar AD106S

andonstar ads106s
The Andonstar ADS106S features 1080p video recording, 12MP images, 4.3 inch LCD, a metal stand, removable glass lens protector, and adjustable lighting. A great microscope that will meet most needs of the hobbyist. Available for about half the price of the ADSM302 depending on where it’s purchased.

#4 Mustool G1200

mustool g1200 microscope
The Mustool G1200 is a step up from the G600 with a larger 7 inch screen and higher resolution camera. In addition it has a larger focus range of 10-130mm and the entire camera mount arm swivels at up to a 45 degree angle which helps get a better view. Overall it’s a great tool for all soldering and inspection needs.

#5 DANIU USB Microscope

daniu usb microscope
The DANIU USB Microscope is one of the cheapest options available coming in at around 15 USD. It features USB connectivity, 50X-500X zoom, 8 white LEDs, and a metal base. While this device is basically just a glorified webcam with a microscope lens it works fine for occasional SMD work and circuit inspection.

Camera quality on a Chinese microscope

Generally camera quality on a Chinese made digital microscope is decent but it does vary depending on the cost of the unit. Quality ranges anywhere from 2MP (640×480) on some of the cheapest USB microscopes and up to 12MP (1920×1080) on the more expensive microscopes. Anything with a built in screen has little to no latency while something like a USB microscope can have considerable lag depending on the unit.

Video Quality
For all but the cheapest microscopes that have video recording capability quality is either 720p or 1080p. This is good for recording a soldering session or for later transferring to your computer for analysis on a larger screen.

Image Quality
If you want to take an image rather than a video the image size is going to depend on the megapixel rating rather than the video resolution. For example a 3MP and 12MP microscope both display 1080p video but image resolution on the 12MP is over triple that of the 3MP microscope.

A higher image quality also gives a clearer image when you use digital zoom.

USB microscope vs Standalone Digital Microscope

The main differences between the two types of microscopes are video latency and camera quality. Cheaper USB microscopes are basically glorified webcams with a zoom lens so video quality is lower and latency is higher. Latency and image quality is better on standalone digital microscopes because they use higher quality parts and don’t have to stream video over USB.

Low video latency always makes soldering through the microscope easier.

Metal vs Plastic Microscope Stand

When it comes to a metal vs plastic stand metal wins 100% of the time. Most plastic bases use a suction cup which is unreliable and leaves little room to do work. A metal stand is more stable due to the heavier base and allows the microscope to be raised higher. The larger distance between microscope and object makes it easier to solder because there is more work area.

Other uses for a Chinese digital microscope

Inspecting solder joints
Solder joints can be notoriously difficult to inspect getting harder the smaller the part is. With a Chinese digital microscope solder joints can more easily be inspected for bridging, cracked solder joints, and lifted pads even at very small pitches like 0.5mm.

Cellphone repair
Having a microscope is a necessity when it comes to cellphone repair. A professional that repairs small electronics like cellphones is likely to have a more expensive microscope, but that doesn’t mean a cheaper alternative can’t be used. Most are adequate enough for the person looking to repair small electronics like cellphones and tablets.

Reading small component IDs
A digital microscope is handy when reading part numbers on an small IC or tiny passive component. Whether you’re just needing to read something small or trying to figure out what that Chinese IC with the scratched off part number is, these are useful tools for the job.

People with vision problems
These are also useful tools for people with bad eyesight that are looking to start or continue working with electronics. Soldering and general tinkering becomes easier when things can be magnified on a reasonably large LCD.

Does a Chinese Digital Microscope make a good bench tool

For anyone serious about electronics these make an excellent tool to have on the bench. They take up only a small amount of space and have a multiple of uses.

Screen size and quality

Models with built in displays have a screen size of anywhere from 3-5 inches. Generic Chinese LCDs are used with these microscopes and while they’re not expensive top of the line screens they do work fine for viewing. To get a better/larger image consider using the HDMI out and viewing on a larger monitor (if the model allows it).

Digital microscope outputs

  • microSD: Videos and images can be saved to a microSD card on models that support it.
  • HDMI: On models that support it video can be output over HDMI to a larger screen
  • USB: Cheaper models must be connected to a computer for viewing video